If you like your pasta dinners packed with meat and veggies, say hello to your new favorite: Italian Sausage Pasta. We’re bringing all the flavor with sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic, with a bright, buttery lemon sauce, along with white beans and spinach to make it extra filling. Mangia!
Why You’ll Love This Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe
- So Many Pantry Ingredients. Don’t let the ingredient list fool you! It might look long but most of the items you need are either pantry staples or things you probably have on hand in your refrigerator. This helps you eliminate those pesky drive-by expenses, i.e., the costs incurred when you’re pushing your grocery cart down the aisle to pick up a specific ingredient and, “Oh my goodness, this [fancy jar of olives; tub of my favorite salsa; bottle of wine] is on sale. I better buy seven!”
- Adaptable to What You Have on Hand. Have a package of chicken sausage in the fridge? Use that instead of Italian! No cannellini beans? Use Great Northern. No spinach? The arugula in your crisper drawer will add a peppery bite!
- Supremely Satisfying. A serving of pasta is two ounces, and if you’ve ever portioned that out for yourself, you know that’s a saaaaad bowl of pasta. That’s why I love bulking up a pasta dinner with turkey sausage, beans, and veggies to make it feel much more substantive. (Looking for more hearty pasta dishes? Try my Cajun Shrimp Pasta, Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta, and Butternut Squash Sausage Pasta!)
- Ready in a Flash. This is a recipe that cooks up in a matter of minutes, so it’s ideal for busy weeknights—or those nights when you come home from work feeling completely depleted. Open up a bottle of wine and have a restaurant-style dinner on the table in no time!
- Big, Bold Flavors. Italian sausage: spicy or sweet! Red pepper flakes! Sun-dried tomatoes, lots of garlic, lemon zest and juice, and savory Parmesan—it all comes together for an absolutely delectable pasta dish.
5 Star Review
“I decided to make this recipe on a whim and now it’s one of my weekly go-to’s.”— Raeann —
How to Make Italian Sausage Pasta
- Whole Wheat Short Pasta. I recommend penne, orecchiette, or farfalle.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. No need for anything fancy since you’re using it for cooking.
- Sweet or Hot Italian Turkey Sausage. Keep in mind that hot Italian sausage can be verrrry hot, so you might want to opt for sweet if you’re spice sensitive.
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper. Always essential for pasta recipes.
- Red Pepper Flakes. You can dial these back if you’re using hot Italian sausage.
- Garlic. My motto for garlic: you can always add more, but you should never add less. That said, I think 3 cloves is plenty here since we’ve got so many other flavors going on.
- Dry White Wine or Low-Sodium Chicken Broth. If you’re using wine, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc are great choices.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil. Because you’ll also be using the oil to this recipe, don’t buy the dried kind that comes in a pouch. Be sure to try this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta too.
- Cannellini Beans. Or another variety of white bean. Chickpeas would be fabulous too if you’ve got a can on hand.
- Unsalted Butter. Enough for a flavorful sauce without overdoing it.
- Lemon. Zest the lemon first, then juice it.
- Parmesan Cheese. Freshly grated from a block.
- Baby Spinach. To amp up the veggie factor.
- Cook the Pasta. Follow the package directions for cooking to al dente; reserve a cup of the cooking water.
- Brown the Sausage. Cook the sausage in a Dutch oven with the olive oil, breaking it into small pieces.
- Season. Stir in the salt, black pepper, pepper flakes, and garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Deglaze the Pan. Pour in the wine or broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid reduces by half.
- Simmer. Reduce the heat and add the beans, tomatoes, and pasta, along with the pasta water. Simmer, stirring, until the sauce thickens.
- Finish the Sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tomato oil, butter, cheese, and lemon zest and juice. Stir until the pasta is coated .
- Add the Spinach and Serve. Stir in the spinach until it wilts, then plate and serve with additional Parmesan.
- Make It Vegetarian. Use your favorite vegetarian Italian sausage to replace the turkey sausage.
- Make It Herbaceous. Skip the spinach and instead add basil chiffonade to the pasta just before serving.
- Make It With Extra Veggies. Stir roasted vegetables into the pasta to bulk it up even more. Roasted Eggplant, Roasted Broccoli, or Roasted Mushrooms would all be excellent.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of chicken stock (or water) to keep the pasta from drying out. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese before serving.
- To Freeze. Freeze pasta in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
What to Serve with Italian Sausage Pasta
- Salad. A light Arugula Salad is perfection with a big bowl of this Italian sausage pasta, or try Burrata Salad for an Italian spin.
- Vegetables. While the pasta cooks on the stovetop, make Air Fryer Green Beans or Roasted Cauliflower.
- Bread. You could go the traditional route with classic garlic bread, or serve your pasta with a slice of Rosemary Olive Oil Bread or No Knead Focaccia.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Citrus Juicer. The best way to juice a lemon.
- Meat Chopper. Makes breaking up a skillet of sausage and ground beef easy.
- Pasta Pot. For all your pasta dinner needs.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Grate Your Own Parmesan. I am not a food snob by any means, but those green bottles of shaky cheese just aren’t going to cut it here. If you want your Parm to melt into a silky smooth sauce, you really need to grate your own from a block. Use a rasp-style grater, or try a food processor if you want to grate a whole block and save some for another meal. It’ll last in the fridge for a few weeks and can be frozen for a few months.
- Don’t Forget to Reserve the Cooking Liquid. Yes, we’ve all done it before—we pour the pasta water down the drain and the instant we do, we remember that it was supposed to be reserved for later. (*shakes fist at sky*) If you always find yourself forgetting, leave a measuring cup and ladle next to the stovetop or stick a post-it note on your sink. The pasta water is key to a fabulous sauce for your Italian sausage pasta (and also my Lemon Pasta).
- Don’t Forget to Salt the Water Either. If you skip salting the pasta water in an attempt to keep your meals healthier, you’re missing out! You can salt the water generously knowing that most of that salt will be poured down the drain with the cooking water. (Er, just not all of it though. See above.) You’ll be left with pasta that just tastes better all-around, but not all that much extra sodium in your finished dish.
- Have Your Ingredients Ready to Go. This recipe moves fast and you won’t have any time to pause so you can chop or measure. Get everything prepared first and then start to cook.
Italian Sausage Pasta
- 8 ounces whole wheat short pasta such as penne, orecchiette, or farfalle
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian turkey sausage
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus more to taste
- 3 garlic cloves minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained, patted dry, and chopped
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil from the jar above
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small lemon zest and juice
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- 4 cups roughly chopped baby spinach about 4 ounces
- Make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go. This recipe moves fast! Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water (don’t forget!), then drain.
- Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or similar large, deep pan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Squeeze the sausages from their casings into the pot. With a wooden or similar sturdy spoon or spatula (I love my meat chopper), break up the sausage into small pieces and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. If at any point the pan looks dry and the sausage starts to really stick, add a little more oil as needed.
- Add the salt, black pepper, red pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the wine, scraping up any bits that have collected on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has reduced by approximately half, about 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, pasta, and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Heat gently and stir until well combined and the sauce starts to come together, about 1 to 2 minutes. If at any point the pasta looks dry, splash in a little additional pasta water as needed.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the sun-dried tomato oil, butter, Parmesan, lemon zest (zest the lemon right over the pasta), and lemon juice. Keep stirring until combined and the noodles are coated in a silky sauce.
- A few handfuls at a time, stir in the baby spinach until it wilts. Serve topped with additional Parmesan to taste.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of chicken stock (or water) to keep the pasta from drying out. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese before serving.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze pasta in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
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